Home voice assistants are increasingly becoming more ubiquitous and powerful. Today, Amazon takes it a step further with the Echo Show. Essentially, it’s your basic Echo with a touch screen, but that screen is the bacon to Alexa’s proverbial eggs. The perfect complement.
Why the update?
The classic Echo can do so much. Control your lights, set your schedule, keep passwords, play the newest Hot 100, relay the news, and so much more. Eventually though, you begin to see where without a screen, some ‘skills’ just don’t cut it. Sure, getting an overview of the weather is great, but Alexa isn’t going to relay what the chance of rain is on the hour. A screen can show that information easily. Calling an Uber? You’ll be able to see a map of where exactly your driver is. Sports scores? Now you can get a visual overview of the entire box score, while Alexa relays the final score.
With a screen, consumers will no doubt feel more comfortable trusting Alexa to make purchases on their behalf. Think about it. Are you currently shopping with your voice assistant? Why not? What if when you asked Alexa to order more paper towels, you then get a visual confirmation of the brand, price, quantity and arrival date? Wouldn’t that make you feel more comfortable trusting it to make that purchase? It essentially takes the mouse and keyboard out of online shopping.
The touch screen allows for greater interaction with some of Alexa’s most powerful skills and offers up opportunities for completely new ones. Changing the lights? Now you have a visual color wheel to set the mood. Your Flash Briefing? Best believe there will be a video component to that. How about recipe instructions? There’s no excuse for not knowing how to properly dice that garlic. And setting the thermostat? Well, you get the picture (literally).
Amazon also did something very interesting here by turning the Show into a communication device. Users can send audio, video, and text messages to anyone within the Amazon ecosystem, and in turn, receive messages as well. There’s also a direct video chat format. “Drop In” on users who have made themselves available for a quick chat, perfect for saying hello to mom and dad. You can also set it to interact with security and baby monitors. At an introductory price of $229, this feature alone is sure to make the Show a staple in any new parent’s bedroom.